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The variety of recordings of Wozzeck is astonishing, a work that seems even more modern today than much of what was composed afterwards.
The very first complete recording, the 1951 recording of a concert performance from New York, is interesting above all because of Dimitri Mitropoulos on the podium and Eileen Farrell's Marie (she sang Berg, Bach and Wagner with the same aplomb as Gershwin and blues). In the Boulez recording of 1963, Walter Berry in the title role and the immensely incisive Karl Dönch as the Doctor are impressive.

The central conductor in the performance history of Wozzeck is Karl Böhm: he first conducted the work in 1931 as General Music Director in Darmstadt, and campaigned tirelessly for performances after the end of the Nazi regime. He brought Wozzeck to the Teatro San Carlo in Naples in 1949, to the Salzburg Festival in 1951, 1971 and 1972, to the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires in the early 1950s, to the Vienna State Opera in 1955, to the Metropolitan Opera in 1959 and to the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1964. He received a Grammy Award for his recording with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerhard Stolze (1964). You will find two excerpts from his performance at the Met at the end of the playlist.

Similarly impressive to Böhm's recordings is the Leipzig production under Herbert Kegel: Theo Adam and Gisela Schröter hit exactly the »right« mix of singing and declamation. The richness of colour and form in the orchestral part of Wozzeck, and the broad spectrum of interpretation possibilities it offers, can be heard in the readings by Christoph von Dohnanyi, Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Ingo Metzmacher and Sebastian Weigle.

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